Good and bad money news for Holy See

The Holy See has recovered from one of its worst deficits to post a $NZ3.6 million surplus for 2012, a good news story announced in a week in which “clear failings” were revealed in the processes of the Vatican Bank.

In its annual financial statement, the Holy See said better management had helped it recover from a loss of nearly $NZ25 million in the previous year.

But donations to the Peter’s Pence collection, taken up worldwide for the support of the Holy See, declined by nearly 12 per cent to $NZ85.4 million.

Vatican City — which has its own city-state budget and profits from revenues of the Vatican Museums, post office and other attractions — showed a surplus of $NZ38 million, a slight increase on the previous year.

The board of the troubled Vatican Bank met on July 4 to consider the sudden resignation of its two top managers — who are now under investigation by Rome magistrates — and the arrest of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano on a money-smuggling charge.

A Reuters report said the bank’s president, Ernst von Freyberg, told the meeting that a preliminary inquiry into Scaranio’s activities had found “clear failings that should serve as stark reminder of the urgency of improving the [bank’s] processes”.

Scarano, 61, who worked as a senior accountant in the Vatican’s financial administration and had close and regular contacts with the bank, was arrested along with an Italian secret service agent and a financial intermediary.

Reuters said Freyberg told the board that the bank would continue to improve internal procedures and review every account. “We will systematically identify and eradicate wrongdoing by clients of our institute,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Financial Information Authority — a Vatican body established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 to prevent money laundering and other illegal financial activities — announced that it had been admitted into the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.

Membership gives access to a global network of financial intelligence units and facilitates the exchange of information in the fight against financial crime. It also represents recognition of the Holy See/Vatican City State’s efforts in tracking and fighting money laundering and the financing of terrorism.


Vatican Radio


Catholic News Service

Image: Prokerala News

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